As I was looking through my posts of last October I saw that it was then when I decided to write my experiences with therapy down. I did that for quite a while and I’ll link the other parts of my journey below. I stopped writing because the therapy discontinued due to Corona at the beginning of March. I was offered to do online counseling but I declined at that point.
Let’s start from the beginning.
To catch you up on the current situation, I have two therapists and one psychiatrist. At the job placement center, which is responsible for giving the green light for my benefits, I also have a case manager. So as you see, I have mobilized a few people. Not that that was ever my intention.
The first therapist.
When I was about 32 I started therapy due to my choice. I wanted to be a better health worker and to get to know my own blind spots. I had the dream of having children and I thought it was utterly necessary to digest my own past and to prevent to pass it on in the raw form. My therapist is an older man and after 8 years he knows me – and more important – my whole story very well. He’s trained in the psychoanalytic tradition (more specific the branch that follows Jung) and I do trust him. He knows what to say, when to say it. He never ever gave me ‘free advice’. With that I mean, he doesn’t propose to do this or that specifically. What I tell in the sessions stays really close to my thoughts and feelings. It feels good, sometimes very painful and raw but true to my heart. There are no exercises to do nor as mentioned already, no advice to follow. One time he wondered out loud, if it could be that I was already strong enough to face my mother … that possibility was discussed but that was it. He mostly guides me and points me to a coherent story of my confused mind. He ‘contains’ the bad feelings and the good ones. He tells me when I’m making progress and reassures me when ‘I feel down the hole’ that I’m smart enough to know what is happening but that I don’t always want to know. He says things like that. The thing is that, after eight years of weekly appointments of 40’, minus the occasional holidays, he was my travel companion on my journey of life. Some sort of father figure, with excellent listening skills. He will stop his practice at the end of 2020.
And another was added to the mix.
When faced with depression I ended up meeting my psychiatrist in the spring of 2019. He referred me to another therapist, someone who works more with feelings in action rather than talk therapy. Oh yes, I almost forgot one terrible therapist, that story you can read here. Back to the drama-therapy as it is called. I started with this therapist last September and I see her once a month. The sessions are longer, over one hour, and are meant to be more practical, meant to ‘take me out of my head and into my body’ if that makes sense. All went well, we worked with my Inner Child and I learned how to prioritize myself before all the things that ‘need to be done’. Due to Corona, the sessions did stop. Online counseling was offered, what I declined at the beginning but decided to try when months went on. I noticed some changes with this therapist in the online sessions. She started to give me some advice. When I told her that mornings are difficult for me because my mind tells be that being dead would be the better option, she told me to ask myself ‘what I needed in that moment’. My guess would be some rest. But ok, the next thing was that I need to take my dog out for a walk every day and that I struggle with that. She said, ‘the longer you wait, the bigger the fear’. ‘That is true’, I admitted, ‘but there is the problem of getting dressed’. I don’t sit in pajamas all day but I wear my ‘depression fashion’, meaning leggings and a long sweater. As I don’t feel that good in it, I don’t go out in it. So before walking the dog, I need to do other things and in my mind – at that point in time – it was just a lot to do.
Fast forward a few months.
Finally I saw my female therapist in person again. Although she helped me with a lot of things; I now have the task to ‘be in charge of my own life’. My mindset isn’t following that advice (yet). Why? Because I’m used to not being in charge and I’m more used to be a ‘good and nice’. How does one change a mindset? I mean, she says I need to practice. I can and I will do that. To start with the dog, I need to be in charge of Churro. Reality is that I can be scared when he starts to fight other dogs. I don’t like fighting. But still, I need to be the bigger one and jump in front of them and the dogs will need to listen to me. Ok, I can try. The other thing was that I needed to get moving. As I do work out with my app, it sometimes can feel like a chore. She said to find a community where I live and to join some dance classes or yoga or what I would like to do. Because moving needs to be ingrained in daily life and it needs to be fun.
I see where she’s coming from but I’m not used to therapists giving their views or advice that freely. Am I just not used to it because my other therapist refrains from it or is it something therapists aren’t supposed to do? What is the difference with a life-coach? Can you, dear reader, shed your light on my question? Or is it even a silly question, showing that I’m holding on to my defense mechanisms? Every angle is welcome because I would like to differentiate my opinion on that matter. Thank you in advance.